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Notebook: Zimmer on Statuses of Greenway, Peterson, Shurmur

Posted Jan 3, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — With Mike Zimmer diving deep into a self-assessment of the choices he made from the sidelines and during the preparations for games, the Vikings head coach will use information to shape future decisions.

There’s one decision regarding the Vikings in 2017, however, that he is not prepared to make: whether Chad Greenway retires or tries to come back for a 12th season.

Greenway savored every moment of Sunday’s 38-10 win against the Bears, from the parking lot to the postgame podium but is deliberating his decision.

Zimmer was asked Tuesday during an end-of-season press conference if he would try to talk Greenway into coming back.

“I love Chad. I think he’s a tremendous player, a tremendous locker room guy,” Zimmer said. “I think Chad is the one that needs to make that decision. I think I’m going to talk to him today, I believe.”

Greenway said Sunday that he plans to announce his decision at a later date.

Zimmer has been meeting with players, coaches and the personnel department to identify every element that prevented the Vikings from repeating as NFC North Champions or at least making the postseason.

“All the meetings that we had with the players yesterday, they believe that we have an extremely strong locker room,” Zimmer said. “We have the right kind of guys here.”

Part of the Vikings offseason discussions deal with attempts to re-sign pending free agents.

Greenway is one of 17 Vikings with contracts set to expire:

Matt Asiata

Audie Cole

Rhett Ellison

Chad Greenway

Mike Harris

Shaun Hill

Charles Johnson (restricted)

Matt Kalil

Zach Line

Jeff Locke

Jake Long

Captain Munnerlyn

Terence Newman

Cordarrelle Patterson

Andre Smith

Adam Thielen (restricted)

Justin Trattou

Click here for other pertinent offseason information.

Speculation season

The flipping of the calendar and absence from the playoffs triggered the switch from regular season to speculation season.

Even though Adrian Peterson and Sharrif Floyd are under contract for 2017, there were questions asked regarding both players on Tuesday, one day after Peterson told reporters he would “love to continue to be a part” of the “great things going on in Minnesota.”

When asked if he’s “hopeful” that Peterson will be on the team in 2017, Zimmer said, “Well, Adrian is under contract.”

“Adrian’s been a tremendous player here for the Vikings for 10 years,” Zimmer said. “He’s done some unbelievable things and he’s under contract, so yes.”

Peterson missed all but three games in 2016 because of a torn meniscus he suffered against Green Bay in Week 2.

He finished his 10th season with 72 rushing yards on 37 carries and three catches for 8 yards a season after winning his third rushing title.

Zimmer said Peterson’s practices after coming back from the injury helped provide him with evaluation material.

“Now there isn’t a lot to look at, but I was able to see him every day in practice and things that he was able to do. I was able to evaluate,” Zimmer said. “I’m upstairs right now watching cut-ups that go through the entire point of the season. You know, part of it is evaluating not just him, but did we block this thing right? Did we get this done? So, there’s a lot of different things as we move forward.”  

As for Floyd, who missed all but the season opener with a knee injury, Zimmer said, “Well, we’re evaluating everything right now. So, Sharrif is under contract, and I know [General Manager] Rick [Spielman] is in charge with all of that. So, we’ll see where it goes.”

Taking time to reflect on OC decision

Zimmer also was asked when he might make a decision about the status of Interim Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur, who was hired a year ago as tight ends coach. Shurmur was elevated in November after Norv Turner resigned.

“Like I’ve said before, I’m going to take some time this week,” Zimmer said. “I’m going to try to figure out things, step back a little bit, where I can kind of recharge my thinking of where we want to go, how we want to do things. Not just Pat, but everybody.

“I do think that Pat did a very, very good job, especially under the circumstances that he was put in,” Zimmer said. “I think, offensively, we improved a lot in the passing game. You can look at the statistics from when he started going and things that we’ve done after that. I think he had a great relationship with Sam [Bradford]. I think the offensive players respect him, and we’ll just figure all those things out.”

Zimmer also said he was impressed by Bradford’s performance this season in which the quarterback broke an NFL record for season-long completion percentage (71.6). 

Season tough for Harris to watch

Injuries mounted for the Vikings offensive line throughout the season, but one player was on reserve before taking a snap. Mike Harris, who started all 16 games of 2015 at right guard, was placed on reserve with a non-football illness.

Neither Harris nor Zimmer disclosed the illness that sidelined Harris, who has started 21 of 28 games played since joining the Vikings in 2014.

Harris said Monday, “I’m feeling great — health-wise, physically, mentally.”

He also, however, said he has not been cleared for football activities.

“Once I get the clearance, I’ll be good to go,” Harris said, “But I feel great, and I just have to stay positive. Just not being out there and not being able to help my team [was tough]. This season was rough for everybody — a lot of injured guys on the team who we needed.”

Zimmer said the issue is “kind of a freak thing that happened.”

“So we are trying to get it taken care of, that’s all,” Zimmer said. “I mean, you know, this is the best think for Mike right now.”